Silvio Berlusconi lunch on auction to help Italy quake victims

Berlusconi (above, in a file photo) wrote about the auction on his Facebook page.
Berlusconi (above, in a file photo) wrote about the auction on his Facebook page.PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME (AFP) - Fancy a lunch with Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire media tycoon and disgraced ex-prime minister of Italy? You'll be helping the country's earthquake victims if you're ready to pay the price.

The Italian Red Cross and CharityStars, a fund-raising website, is auctioning off a "business lunch" in Milan with 80-year-old Berlusconi, who faced a string of legal cases before being convicted of corporate tax fraud in 2013.

"Il Cavaliere", as he is known, was given a community service order and kicked out of parliament.


The proceeds will go toward the victims of the string of quakes that struck central Italy over the past six months, killing scores of people and leaving thousands homeless for months.

On Thursday afternoon (Feb 23), the bidding for lunch with someone CharityStars described as a "communications genius and popular politician" who is "one of the pillars of Italian politics and society" stood at a hefty €100,000 (S$150,000).

CharityStars does not say where the lucky winner and two guests will dine, and notes that travel costs are not included.

It also says the date will depend on Berlusconi's schedule.

"Dear friends, I have decided to participate in these auctions... because I believe each of us must do everything possible to help fellow citizens in difficulty," Berlusconi wrote on his Facebook page.

"I hope the auction bidding will go very high."

The auction ends on March 16.